From her unforgettable turn in Seinfeld as Jerry's "Schmoopie" and her 3 years as an on-air correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show, to film roles in It's Complicated and Jerry Maguire, actress Ali Wentworth can be counted on to make you laugh until it hurts to breathe. Her new book, Happily Ali After, is a humorous take on her life at 50, covering fitness, self-help tips, parenting two daughters, and her partnership with husband George Stephanopoulos.
How does it feel to be 50?
I first of all am an immature person in all the good ways, and I really do see myself as just post-college age. I dress like a Bennington College student. When I'm with my husband at a restaurant, I'll look at a group of 30-something women and I'll say, "Are they my age?" He'll say, "No, you could be their mother!" I'm going to end up being a 90-year-old woman in really tight jeans and embarrassing my children because I have no sense of time.
Your husband gets up around 2:30 a.m. most days and is out of the house before dawn for Good Morning America. How do you juggle family life?
The whole apartment is dark at 8:30 p.m. -- kids, dogs, everyone goes to sleep. I go to bed at 8:30 and I wake up at 6. In terms of the aging process, it's good for me to get that much sleep. We have family dinner at 6 every single night during the week. I cook most nights but sometimes George does, and then we all have dinner together and then finish homework or reading and watch a TV show together. George walks the dogs while the kids brush their teeth and get in their fluffy pants, and at 8 p.m. we're all in our bed together watching Modern Family, Black-ish, or The Mindy Project. Then at 8:30, it's goodnight.
What's usually for dinner?
I've learned that whenever I stray and try something that's out of the norm, it's not worth it. I put all of this effort into it and they're like, "Bleah!" We have our standard chicken Parm, turkey Bolognese, and roast chicken. I roll with the greatest hits. And we always have a big salad.
What are some of the issues you're dealing with as your daughters approach their teen years?
With my 10-year-old, we really have no issues. She's still a little girl. She's all unicorns and kittens and puppies. My 12-year-old is just starting The Puberty. She's very knowledgeable about it from school and she blames a lot of things on hormones -- because she hears me blaming things on hormones.
How do they feel about their stories being in your book?
I vet it with them. Originally there was talk about this book being a funny parenting book, and I thought, "That's not really fair to my kids." The stuff I did write, I told them I was writing it, and if she was in it I let my 12-year-old read it. Her only note was: "Nicki Minaj is not my fashion icon." I'd say, "I know that!" But I wanted to use it as a joke to emphasize some point about struggling with what she could wear.
Do your daughters have sibling rivalry issues?
I always call them kittens in a box, because they can be really playful and each other's friends and hang out and they're adorable, especially when they connect on music or something cute on Instagram or a movie. Then there's the, "I'm the older, you're the younger sibling" rivalry. They do talk it out, though. They don't really get into hitting. I think a couple of times they said, "You're stupid, you're fat," and I nipped that in the bud.
You joke about lounging around the house in sweatpants with Milk Duds. Is that really true?
I wish it weren't true. I live with an overachiever and it makes me insane. But I'm a creature of comfort.
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